The Exciting Journey of Podcasting: From Curiosity to Global Impact.
Rainn Wilson: "I was so unhappy during The Office!" (Dwight Schrute) | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Rainn Wilson: "I was so unhappy during The Office!" (Dwight Schrute)".
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We're gonna talk about the office. I promise. Stick around, folks. Rain, welcome! After brighter, the juicers you know as... White Shrute, assistant regional manager. One of the most iconic characters in TV history. Hold on, Michael! I am coming! I experienced a lot of pain in my life. Neglect, abuse, abandoned, and then with anxiety and depression and addiction. I remember getting these anxiety attacks that would leave me shaking on the floor and sweating, and I thought I was dying, waking up at 3 in the morning, going, "Why should I keep living?" But this is the curious thing. I'm grateful for it. There's a reason why so many comedians come from painful backgrounds, because comedy shifts your perspective away from pain and trauma. Here's your choice. You kill yourself or do comedy, and that was my path. It was my greatest dream come true. You said, "When I was in the office, I spent several years mostly unhappy because it wasn't enough." I wanted more opportunities, I wanted more money, and as long as we want to promote the ego satisfaction, we'll never be happy. We all have a shadow, and it's always there. It's self-important and righteous and entitled, but I'm not going to get rid of those aspects of myself by keeping that shadow at arm's length. You need to embrace and accept and love one's shadow. Sit the shadow on the lap, almost like a ventriloquist dummy. Hello! You, diary of a... CEO. Get a new t-shirt, idiot! That's a wrap. I think this is fascinating. I looked at the back end of our YouTube channel, and it says that since this channel started, 69.9% of you that watch it frequently haven't yet hit the subscribe button, so I have a favor to ask you.
Personal Background And Life Experiences
Growing up around missionaries in the jungle (01:35)
If you've ever watched this channel and enjoyed the content, if you're enjoying this episode right now, please can I ask a small favor? Please hit the subscribe button. It helps this channel more than I can explain, and I promise, if you do that, to return the favor, we will make the show better and better and better and better and better. That's the promise I'm willing to make you if you hit the subscribe button. Do we have a deal? Let's start with your context. I always think the earliest years are the most important, so could you take me back to your earliest context and give me the factors that I need to understand to understand you? Sure. A couple of key pieces in my background that have made me who I am and led me to lead the life that I live are. My mom took off when I was a year and a half, lived with my dad, and we were members of the Baha'i Faith, which in a nutshell is the newest of the world's religions. There's about six million Baha'is around the globe. It's the second most widespread religion, so wherever you go in the world, there's going to be Baha'is. You go to Mongolia or Thailand or Botswana or whatever, there's going to be Baha'i communities. And after my dad had been kind of essentially abandoned or felt abandoned and they got divorced, we moved to the jungles of Nicaragua when I was three years old.
I was filled with depression & anxiety (03:12)
Here was this abandoned kind of toddler kid living in literally the jungle. And my dad was an abstract painter and science fiction writer and Baha'i. And that's how I grew up. And then when it was kind of around kindergarten time, first grade time, we moved back to Washington state. And those are some key pieces. In your 40s, you started to look back at your childhood and understand, I heard this in an interview you did, I think with Chase Jarvis on his show. And one of the things you said is, when I look back at my childhood, it was filled with depression and anxiety that you probably didn't, it seems like you didn't realize at the time behind sites giving you that clarity. What were the hallmarks of that? What were the symptoms of that? And do you have any understanding of the causes of that at such a young age? Yes, 22 years of therapy has given me a lot of insights into the causes of that. So, you know, you've got an abandoned toddler, that'll fuck you up. I don't know if I can swear on your podcast. All right. Do Brits swear? Yeah. Yeah, funny ones. And then, you know, it was this weird kind of gaslighting mind fuck, because I just spent five minutes describing the Baha'i faith, right? And these beautiful ideas and prayers and meditations about world peace and finding love and connection and service. And then in my family, my dad remarried my stepmom, who pretty much raised me, and they lived in a loveless marriage, a hollow, empty marriage. So I come back from the jungles of Nicaragua at five or six. My dad's remarried. We're living in suburban Seattle and Washington state. And we are going to all these behind meetings. We're singing. We're doing kumbaya. We're holding hands. We're praying. We're meditating. We're reading holy scripture from all over the world and talking about love. And yet, here's this loveless shell of a house.
What have you learned from childhood trauma? (05:33)
So that's what I grew up in. So, you know, addiction is something that I've struggled with. I've struggled with depression. I've struggled with anxiety. I've struggled on a lot of different levels in my life, a lot of alienation. And it's born of this Petri dish that I grew up in. Maybe I was also wired for it. You know, I have alcoholics that run on both sides of my family for generations. But that'll mess you up. What have you learned about the nature of childhood trauma and how delicate children are? I've learned so much from speaking to people in this podcast about it and how... If I listen to too many of these episodes, I might be scared to be a parent because it's so interesting how such a small interpretations can leave really lasting impressions on a child about the nature of the world. I sat here with Gabo Matte and he's talked about how children are basically narcissists and how they interpret everything is about them. So, if there's an argument over there, a baby will think it's about the baby. But what have you learned about through your years of therapy, but also your own experiences? Well, I experienced a lot of pain in my life and a lot of suffering with anxiety and depression and addiction. And as I kind of dove into recovery and to the therapeutic process, I can pin that squarely on a lot of gross imbalances and trauma that I suffered as a child. So, there's that. We all have that to some degree. And it's important to excavate and honor the pain that we went through and the lies that we were told, the gaslighting we might have... Undergone, there's religious trauma that we undergo as well. There's all kinds of different traumas that we suffer. And this is the curious thing. I'm grateful for it because you know what? If I had had a happy, well-balanced childhood, I don't know what my career would have been, but it certainly wouldn't have been an actor. And it certainly wouldn't have been a successful actor. So, these conflences of pain and difficulty and abuse and neglect, they caused me a lot of suffering later on, but at the same time, they caused me to be driven to try and be the best version of myself. They set me on a spiritual path to really deeply explore the world's spiritual traditions and to try and connect with my higher power and to go on a journey of self-discovery and then to take what I've learned and to share that with others. And they made me funny. So, there's a really interesting thing I heard Dr. Arthur Brooks from Harvard University, who you should have on the show, speak about. And he talked about how the opposite of pain and trauma is humor. He was saying, like, for instance, if you're feeling depressed, let's say, we all know you fill that with gratitude. And when you have a gratitude journal and you share a gratitude, experience gratitude, meditate on gratitude, the other stuff evaporates. When you shift your focus and your perspective to what you're grateful for, what brings you hope and joy and purpose and meaning, even if it's a small thing, like, you know, this delicious cup of tea right here. So, the same mechanism works in comedy. And there's a reason why so many comedians come from painful backgrounds because comedy is what you plug in to shift your perspective away from pain and trauma, just like gratitude takes you away from depression. So, you'll see time and time again these amazing, you know, the great comedians of the age, you know, and how much suffering they underwent in their lives. But comedy became the necessary thing to plug in to their perspective in order to carry forward. It's like, here's your choice. So you kill yourself or do comedy. And then they do comedy and you think about so many of the great ones.
Family dramas: “I had 0 tools to navigate my emotions" (10:06)
Jim Carrey, you think about Robin Williams, they talk about mental health and comedy. We did a, for SoulPancake, we did a documentary called Laughing Matters about the intersection of comedy and mental health. And so, in this sense too, I'm grateful for what I went through because I wouldn't be here today having this incredible conversation with you had I not gone through that those difficulties that neglect, that abuse and that gaslighting that I underwent as a kid. When you say the word abuse, you mean the gaslighting? Yeah, you know, I don't want to get into stories, there was, you know, there was some, there was lots of different kinds of abuse. Yeah. Yeah. So, if I'd met you 15, 16 years old, who would I, who would be the man that I met at that point when your mother came back into your life? You said you needed her at that point. At 15 or 16, I was gawky and self-hating and innocent and completely cut off from my emotions and had my dad and stepmom had zero emotional tools. The only kind of expression of emotion that I experienced in my household was rage. And then either rage or like, again, the spiritual, behigh gatherings where we were singing and praying and meditating. So, it was, but the idea of, you know, sadness, frustration, disappointment, all these quote unquote negative emotions and how to navigate them, I had zero tools. So, I'll never forget sitting down with one of the first meetings with my mom and I was at a Denny's restaurant in Yakima, Washington. And, and she said, "Rain, you seem very tightly wound. What's going on? How is your heart?" And I just started sobbing. I just started bawling. I mean, it was pretty unsightly at the, at the Denny's, waiting for the grand slam breakfast. And there's a corporate sponsor for you, potential. And just like the, that kind of crying of the, kind of the heaving sobs. And that's what I'm talking about. That's the kind of connection that I needed. Like finally someone was asking me what was in my heart, you know. And that began a kind of a process of having conversations about human emotions that I was so ignorant of, that we're also ignorant of. And it helped me immensely. When you said that, that the, the only emotion you understood was like rage and then this real happiness at the spiritual gatherings. It made sense, the gaslighting. Because it's such a confusing message to send a young person. It's this juxtaposition between like. And. Yeah. Yeah. In fact, I remember, I remember times, and I don't really blame my stepmom for this because my dad was not a good husband to her. And there was a lot that was out of balance and he could be incredibly narcissistic and. But I remember having, we would have a behind gathering, let's say at our house and people were going to come over and we were going to pray or we were going to study holy writings or whatever people do it by gatherings. And they would have a fight and she would be raging in the kitchen and slam dishes down and break the dishes and they would be fighting and then. Ding dong. People would come over like, Hi, I brought flowers and here's a here's some cookies and and they would come in and my stepmom would then march across the living room. Come, come, come, come, come to the bedroom door and go, so I am and slam the bedroom door and the people would be there in the doorway and my dad would go. Come on in. Thanks so much for coming. And it was never any kind of, you know, you know, acknowledging what had just happened and that was. And so for an eight year old, nine year old, ten year old being in that mill, you're like, what the hell is going on? Is this how people act? Is this how we're supposed to act? We have all these emotions, but we don't talk about them and and then we go and we and we pray together. So, you know, this led me to a very long period of time where I was completely alienated from my faith in my in my twenties and I didn't want anything to do with religion or spirituality, certainly not morality. Because I just saw the hypocrisy in it and that's when I really started undergoing a spiritual crisis, a mental health crisis, things started breaking down for me.
How did acting find you? (15:08)
And that's when I decided to kind of reexamine these ideas as a potential way out as a potential path forward for my own transformation for my personal healing. And, and I was ultimately able to come back to the religion of my youth and find great peace and solace and meaning in it after a long journey through my twenties and early thirties. That trauma and experience for your youth, how does that play into you becoming an actor because you said you wouldn't have been, you're grateful because you don't think you would have been an actor or the actor that you are without that experience. What is the, I'm trying to figure out where acting fit into that you talked about comedians using comedy as a as kind of like a life raft away from their pain. Why was acting the thing that found rain. I don't know and there's the genetic component as well that my birth mother was also an actor and interested in acting. I don't know exactly. Even before I thought like, oh, you could be an actor or you could make a living in an actor or you could train as an actor like I didn't even know like I want to do that but it's like whatever that is is magical and amazing and I was drawn to it like a magnet. So, I don't know and then, you know, I took my first acting class. We had moved to Chicago from Seattle and I went to a high school that had a really good theater program and I took my very first acting class. And I did a scene where you're supposed to pretend that you're in your bedroom and that no one's watching. So, I put on this Elvis Costello song Mystery Dance. I brought in my record player from home and I brought in some stuff from my room and I put on the record of Mystery Dance by Elvis Costello and I started just thrashing around and just being ridiculous and lip syncing and jumping around and flopping on the floor and stuff like that. And I was a brand new student. This was like in the first week at this new school and it brought the house down and the 15 to 16 year old that I said that was kind of pimply and gangly and emotionally cut off and self hating. All of a sudden, people were patting me on the back and punching me on the shoulder and saying, "Oh my God, that was so great and high-fiving me." And all of these cute girls from junior year in high school were like, "Oh, where are you from? You're from Seattle." Amazing. We come sit with us at our lunch table and like, and here I was, this kid from suburban Seattle where I had been on the chess team and played the bassoon and been on model United Nations. I barely talked to a girl and then I was like, "All right, I'm in. Whatever this is, I want this, I'm good. This is it. Forget all that other stuff. Screw the bassoon. Screw the chess team. I'm in with the drama geeks." And that was my path. So part of it is not so noble. Part of it is I went where there was acceptance, where there was love, where I had some skill.
What triggered your mental health to spiral? (18:24)
I could make people laugh and where I got attention from the opposite sex. Hello. That's to be the case. Most of us. 20 years old, you graduate with a degree in drama. 23. 23. Close. And then you speak of 1991 when you're 25 years old. That's really when you had your, as you say, your spiritual crisis. Was there a catalyst for that? It seems that that point in your life is when you started experiencing anxiety attacks in a really debilitating way. Was there a catalyst for that? Was there anything in your life that was absent? Or was it just, do you think it was just things catching up with you from your earliest years? Well, I don't know about a catalyst, but I will paint the picture that I'm out of drama school. I'm getting a few little acting jobs here and there, but they're not paying anything. I'm living with a friend in an abandoned beer brewery in Brooklyn. Essentially kind of legally squatting, but we didn't have heat. We didn't have a shower. There were rats scuttling around. And I was working in this bar where I'd get off work at 4 a.m. And I had a roommate and we were living out there and I was really directionless. I started really experimenting with a lot of drugs and alcohol. And I was pretty rudderless and I started getting hit with really crippling anxiety attacks. So I wasn't in the most healthy living environment. But at the same time, I remember getting these anxiety attacks that would leave me literally shaking on the floor and sweating. And I thought I was dying. And I was about to call 911 like five different times. And heart palpitations, sweating. And I talked to a doctor at NYU about them and they said, "Oh, these are just anxiety attacks." So I knew that that's what they were, but I didn't really know anything about them. I started getting really depressed. And so there wasn't really like an event, but circumstances provided the perfect environment for kind of a mental health breakdown of someone who's 25 years old. And how long did that chapter, that period of your life last, where you were having anxiety attacks and you were rudderless? I would say five or six years. Yeah. There were some things got better. I started working a little bit more. I had a relationship with my girlfriend who's now my wife. We've been together for 32 years. And that was great. But even a better apartment and a nice relationship couldn't save me from some of what was going on. And in the 90s, we didn't really have words for a mental health breakdown or mental health issues or crisis. And people didn't really go to therapy. You couldn't really afford it. It was that was like for rich people, like Woody Allen or something. So it stayed. Things got nominally better, but I still was pretty depressed and frustrated and overwhelmed and just generally alienated the kind of waking up at three in the morning with just wide awake staring at the ceiling going up. What the fuck does life mean? Why am I here? Why should I keep living? How do I find meaning and just that anguish and disconnection at a really core level? You asked yourself that question. Why should I keep living? At that point, I've had some suicidal ideation over the years. That wasn't a time when I was actively thinking about ending it. But it really was kind of again one of these big questions, life's deep questions that I've been kind of poking at in my various books of like, why should we keep living? What is the purpose? Is it because one of the odd things, Stephen, was that I was in certain regards living a life beyond my wildest dreams. Here was that kind of abused and gassed lit kid with low self-esteem from suburban Seattle who kind of hated himself and really had trouble fitting in socially in any way, shape, or form. Here I am living in New York City, beautiful girlfriend working as an actor in the theater, not making much money and it was only fitfully, but still that's a big leap to go from where I was and yet I wasn't happy. So there was this odd disconnect because I think societally we're taught like, hey, you find the thing you love to do, go study it, put in your time, you work at it, you're going to start working and yeah you're going to start slow but it's going to build. And then you're going to find incredible joy and purpose and meaning in your work. And I was doing that work in the theater and I was getting to be an actor and I was getting paychecks as an actor, which is an incredible experience. But I was still chronically dissatisfied and it didn't make any sense because society had been telling me this thing for a decade or two. And I felt like I shouldn't be this chronically dissatisfied, but I am. When did that reach its peak? It's hard to say it came in waves throughout my mid 20s and early 30s. And that's what prompted me. And this is why pain can be such a valuable teacher. And in fact, Arthur Brooks just had a column today out in the Atlantic where he was talking about pain and anxiety and depression does not mean that you have a mental health issue. Those are those are normal standard aspects of being a human being. So, but my pain prompted me to go on a spiritual quest and I'm really grateful for that, like I said. To go on a spiritual quest. Depression and pain and anxiety and those things were signals telling you something. So things out of balance. How are you going to bring yourself into balance? How are you going to make sense of all this? And at the time, there weren't podcasts on positive psychology and there weren't, I mean, I guess there were some self help books, but I didn't really know about them. Because of my background because of my childhood, I thought, well, perhaps because I've abandoned anything and everything to do with God and spirituality and religion.
The impact of your dad's passing (25:41)
Maybe that's where I have lost my way and maybe I need to re-explore those avenues and maybe I can find personal meaning and serenity by exploring spiritual ideas. So it was a long process. It was a good eight or ten year process, but I'm grateful that my pain took me along that path. One of the things that I think brings spirituality and some of these big questions into focus is death. Something you talk about in your new book, Soul Boom, and something you've spoken about previously as well. Something that I've often pondered about. I think it was one of the things that really made me go in search of answers, deep questions at a very young age. You talk, I think it's in chapter three of your book, but I listened on the audiobook, so it's chapter six on the audiobook, about the passing of your father. How did that bring into focus spirituality meaning and some of these big questions of life? Well, I think if you're going to look at spirituality, one of the top three big questions is what happens when we die. And of course, we don't know. But just because we don't know or we'll never know, does that mean that we shouldn't explore that question? Hint, no. So it's something, it's a topic and a theme and a question I had thought about a lot. I had spoken about, I had researched and pondered deeply, but obviously, and I had had some people that I knew that had died along the way, of course. But when my father died about three years ago, that made a profound impact and really prompted me to write the book, Soul Boom, because I had one of these key kind of transcendent experiences, spiritual experiences. Which was in, my dad died of heart disease. He was getting a quadruple bypass surgery and he just couldn't make it. He didn't have any way to repair the damage in his heart. We thought he was going to get through the surgery and he died. And we knew it was risky, but it was not a predicted death. And my, his current wife, his widow and myself were in the hospital with him and we had to essentially unplug him. And it was devastating and terrifying. And oddly enough, strangely cliche at the same time. And I couldn't help but maybe this is, is that, that trauma-based comedic kind of aspect of my, of myself. That I just kept witnessing myself in this situation where my father was dying and there's a heart machine going beep beep beep beep. And there's a little oxygen machine going beep beep beep. And there's doctors and nurses walking around with their squeaky shoes and the linoleum floors and has like, wow, this is just like one of those hospital shows. I just kept thinking like, this is just like ER, Grey's Anatomy. Like, wow. It's like it's so cliche. But we had to unplug him. He was going to be dead within an hour and we were sobbing and I looked at his grey body there on the table. And, you know, I saw all these aspects of my dad that I loved. You know, the one eyebrow hair kind of poking out and, you know, the mole on his arm and the way his hands are and his hair kind of messy. And I was filled with such love and such heartbreak. And at the same time, seeing his lifeless body, I was like, this isn't him. This isn't my dad. This is the vessel that carried my dad. Robert Wilson and his beautiful heart and spirit and his dynamism and his creativity, his light, as it were, is no longer here. But that's his reality. This body is just a shell. It's a vessel. It's an avatar. And I also didn't experience it as, oh, he has, it's been snuffed out like a candle. It just seemed very clear like, oh, it has passed on. It's somewhere else now. And here is his body. That was such a profound spiritual experience that I knew intellectually from my study, but it's one of those learnings that kind of has to hit you in the gut to make you really understand it. And go, oh, and I remember that amazing quote that I often pull out from Father Tejart de Chardin and Jesuit priest who said famously, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And that quote, which I've always loved, I saw just evidenced with my father. Oh, he's a spiritual being. He had a human experience for 79 years in this body. And now his spiritual reality has passed and moved on. And this is one of the essential messages of soul boom is that we are spiritual beings. We're having this incredible human experience. Look at us having this incredible dialogue right now. And then I'm going to go get an Uber and then I've got to go do some voiceovers and I'm going to go play tennis with a friend. I'm having this, you know, I'm having a relationship with my wife and with my son. I'm learning. I'm growing. I'm being challenged. And it's magnificent. And here's my fleshy, somewhat corpulent 57 year old body that has done, I've done pretty well by its ridiculous enough. So I get to take my shirt off occasionally as white and people can laugh at my absurdly pale and oblong torso. And I'm fine with it. It's all for comedy, right? And parts of my body are starting to break down. I've got like half hearing in my, in my left ear and I've got mild sleep apnea and I have to wear a mouth appliance that juts my jaw forward and I wake up in the morning and I go place it on the side of the bed. And here I am, this spiritual being having a human experience as rain, Dietrich Wilson. It's this is fabulous, but this is part of what we need to recognize.
The big lesson I learned from the passing of my best friend (32:39)
And this could help people. This can help people with their mental health struggles is an understanding that where we're radiant, luminescent, precious shards of the divine and habiting these fleshy meat suits for hopefully 89 to 100 years and struggle and suffering and anxiety just comes with the game, baby. It's just part of the game. Talk about a friend called Dave. Yeah, David would Dave who also passed quite suddenly and his handling of that in particular surprised you in many ways. Oh, Dave. One of my best friends, David Von Anken, he was a television director, film director, brilliant guy, a wonderful human being. And he just got diagnosed out of out of nowhere with stage four stomach cancer. I mean, just like out of nowhere. Mid 50s and essentially a death sentence. So I get to spend a lot of time with him in his last year and a half after that diagnosis and we did weekly beach walks. And he said to me several times and he would just grab my arm and he would say, rain. It's just static. It's all just static. You've got to get the static out of your life. The emails, the meetings, the career, the appointments, the driving, the traffic, the phone calls, the zooms. It's all just static. It's all noise. And that really resonated with me. And I know a lot of people have mentioned that in the book because we do experience our life as this kind of like buzz of like appointments and choppings and zooms and and bills to pay and whatnot. And that was profoundly impactful. And I would always encourage David to, it's a tricky situation. You know, when someone's dying, I don't want to like God forbid lecture him on death or thinking about it. But I would always just turn it a little bit toward a more profound discussion about the soul and the journey of the soul and the movement of the spirit beyond this corporal 3D surround sound experience of being a human being to the realms beyond. But he, like many people, he got a little stuck in a way that made me sad because he really just focused on fighting the cancer, which is super, super important, right? So he devoted all of his waking time and energy to research and treatment and diet and everything to fight the cancer, which is super important. And I don't blame him, but it was pretty terrifying for him to consider mortality and the implications thereof, you know, the daughter. But I'll never forget him talking about static in that way. And I find that to be also very clarifying, you know, in my daily meditation practice, like, how can I, again, the Buddha uses the image a lot of the lotus flower, you know, it's floating on the ground. You know, it's floating on top of the swamp, you know, these beautiful lotuses. And there's the swamp and the mire and the bugs and the dirt and the, and this beautiful flower rising above. And how can we in our own little way be a lotus flower and the rest of the swamp is our daily static? The rest of the swamp, the alternative way of living to everything you've just described, what is the alternative way of living? So, you know, you've got the realization that everything is static and the understanding that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. What is the opposite of that, that you see when you walk the streets, what you observe people, like, what is the opposite way of living to that? And why is it causing suffering? Thoreau talked about the unexamined life is not worth living. Why did he say that? And what did he mean by that? Well, it's been a long time since I read Walden Pond and the night Thoreau spent in jail, but I love the transcendentalists because that is really kind of the first authentic American spiritual movement. And this idea that we're seeking transcendence that word, that was kind of the first movement that really acknowledged like we're spiritual beings. So I think, you know, it's the unexamined life. I think living in the static, living in the swamp is not taking the time to honor the sacred divinity of aspects of our life. And, you know, I have a, when you study meditation and you participate in meditation, there's this strange thing that happens where you realize that you, the reality of you, is the watcher, the observer. When you meditate, your thoughts are still bouncing around, you know, the Buddhists call it the monkey mind, right? So your thoughts are bouncing around. You might have some anxiety and worry like, "Oh, is that person going to accept my offer on this? Or is this thing going to work out?" Or, "Oh, is my wife still mad at me?" or whatever. So you have this emotional dissonance and you have this kind of intellectual dissonance. And then in the meditative state, you're just witnessing that. It's almost like you're floating above it and looking down. And then you realize, "Oh, my reality is not my thoughts. My reality is not my feelings. My reality is not even just my body and the sensations that my body takes in. There is some kind of aspect of the eye that is the witnesser. And it's getting in touch with that that allows us to get above the static. So meditation is very important to me. The next step of meditation for me is connecting with the ultimate divine. You can do it in prayer. I have a chapter in the book called the Notorious G.O.D. getting into God. So that's one way to rise above the noise and the static and the swamp is in that practice. And then I mentioned at the very beginning, recognizing the sacred and the divine. And we can do this. It's certainly easy to do in the beauty of nature. It's also when you have children and you're raising a kid, you kind of see that the beauty and the kid's natural curiosity and wonder and open-heartedness. And then you experience it in human interaction. I view this conversation as sacred. This is a sacred conversation where seeking to understand each other. You're being a service to your incredible audience. They want to learn about how to make themselves better people, how to start a business, how to maximize their health, how to go on a on a spiritual journey as a human being.
Why should people try spirituality? (40:08)
They want to learn all this and you're providing the way into them. So we get to have this conversation. People may not agree with what I'm saying, but it might spark something and, you know, gratitude and witnessing the sacred and that meditative practice of kind of rising up. Rising above our thoughts and feelings. Those are tools that we can use to make our lives better and richer. If someone is on the outsides of this conversation and they don't really understand what spirituality is and they've not really gone on the journey that you've been on, what are, what kind of questions would you pose to them to help them open their mind? So if someone's listening to this, they find the word spiritual to be kind of hippie stuff and they're not really, you know, they managed to get this far in the conversation, but they don't really understand spirituality, what it means. They managed to get this far. Don't turn off the podcast. There's more good stuff coming. We're going to talk about the office. I promise. Stick around, folks. Way too many cameras here. I think there's nine or something. What would you say to those people that I just think of a guy driving his like, lorry up the country, he's put the podcast on and he doesn't really know what spirituality is doesn't really understand it doesn't understand why he would therefore need it in his life. Yeah. That's a great question. I don't know that I have an answer for that. I mean, I guess, you know, the dictionary definition of spirituality that I use is a focus on the non material aspects of life. So, that's our heart. That's our soul. It's our connection. The light that we bring. It's kind of a connection to what I would call those divine qualities that we all carry to some degree or another spiritual virtues. You could call them. You know, love, compassion, honesty, humility. These are qualities that don't necessarily serve us as human animals. So there's something they're not about the quest for power. They're not about the quest for status and comfort. They allow us to kind of rise above our kind of humdrum human experience. So that's what I would that's how I would define spirituality is something in that realm. But I would say that. Listen, we all want more love in our life, right? And love is the most precious and beautiful resource. And I would say maybe you don't believe in spirituality, but or maybe you don't believe in God, but you can focus on love and we can all focus on love. That's something we all have an experience of. And so we want to increase love in our life. That's that's increasing spirituality. It's the same thing. Like, I had a profound experience of love. When my son was born, he almost died. It was very traumatic birth. An ER room with blood in the middle of the night in a really piss poor Van Nuys, California, County Hospital in a hallway. An emergency C section. And when I held my son, like, again, I had one of those handful of truly transcendent experiences, one of those cosmic experiences of looking into my son's eyes. And they were bright, bright blue. And he'd just been ripped from the womb of his mother. And I felt such a profound love for him. And it was just like waves after waves of love. And just almost I had tears, but it was almost just beyond tears. It was like this transcendent like love orgasm that was minutes long as I as I held him. It just was such gratitude. And, and, you know, for a lot of materialists, they could say, well, that's just neurons and biochemicals in your brain that are causing that. And that's true. There are neurons firing and there's biochemicals. And there's so much more than that. You're never going to tell me that that's all it is. And that is just some biological imperative to have the species move forward. And that's why parents love their children.
The birth of my son changed my life (44:46)
Like what I experienced, I'm sorry, it's just, it's beyond that. You can call me deluded. But that's what spirituality is, is just increasing that love connection. It's a very exciting show in the 90s love connection. But we want to increase that love connection. And that is what a spiritual journey is about. And we can increase that with ourselves with nature, with time, with beauty, and with our with our fellow human beings. How did the both of your son change your life? Well, having kids is a paradigm shift because you have a creature that's in your care and is dependent on you. And it was actually really profound when my son was a year and a half. The same age that I was when my mom left to have the affair. That was a really profound time in my life. It brought up a lot for me emotionally. Because I saw this toddler kid and he would go out and explore the world and be like, Oh, here's a cup and play with some blocks and he, oh, tree and he'd had some words going and stuff like that. And then immediately you'd see this look on his face, like, Oh, I'm out too far. Like, Oh, I'm I've swam out too far and then he'd run back to the shallow end to his mom and cling to his mom and like, Ah, and mom was home base, right? And I was like, Oh, that home base was stripped from me was taken away from me when I was that same age. It was pretty profound. But this idea that are, we're responsible. We brought a life into the world and we're responsible for that life. Not just for five or ten years, not just for the first 18 years, but for eternity. It's it's profound. I can't really say intellectually what that means, but it shifts the way you are alive in the world. That example you gave your son at one and a half years old, being able to return to home base in that you can also see what what might have happened to his development and his perspective. If when he'd gone out too far and turned around, there was no mother there. Yeah. Who we might have become. And if there was no mother there, and then if if I and then he had the father, which is a close second, right? But then my dad who was so traumatized by being abandoned by his wife and was so already emotionally shut down and he couldn't really access emotions are the best of scenarios. He had been colossally abused as a kid and his mom died and his dad was abusive and beat him and left him and his sister alone in the house for weeks at a time. It was very Charles Dickens. So this, you know, my dad's case, he was he was the worst possible person to have to bond to, you know, or to need to bond to. So, you know, if little Walter, if my wife holiday had left or died for some reason and Walter had to turn to me like it would have been okay, but there's, there's nothing that fulfills that that that primal human connectionness, then a child and the mom.
The Office (47:47)
One of the things that really surprised me was when I was reading about your time at the office, which by the way, I have to say is my favorite show all time. You should probably say that I'm sure that's the case for a lot of people. Wait, are you saying right now that the US office is better than the UK office? Yes. Wow. Yes, I know. Do you hear that? It is maybe because there was more of them. There's a hell of a lot more of them. So I've watched, I watched honestly, when I was going through a difficult part in my life and I was trying to building my businesses. I was shoplifting food because I was just, I was so broke at this chapter of my life. It was the, and I had this beat up laptop where I had to like solder the charger because I couldn't afford the 10 pounds to buy a new one. It was the only thing I watched. And I watched it for about two years. So obviously, I just kept going back and back and back. It was, you know, you're talking chapter 10 about the Seven Pillars of Spiritual Revolution and one of them being about spreading joy. It's spread a whole lot of joy in my life, a whole lot of joy. And I don't watch TV, to be honest. I don't watch TV movies. Don't really watch any of it. These guys will know. But the office, I watched. I don't think there's anything else that I have watched. But when I read about your experience on the show, there was a real sense of unfulfillment, especially in the early years when you were making the show. You talked about that a little bit on Bill's podcast as well. When I was in the office, I spent several years really mostly unhappy because it wasn't enough. Yeah. Well, first of all, I'm so glad that you enjoyed the office. And I just need to speak to how deeply gratified I am and all of us are that the office has brought so much serenity and peace and love and upliftment and inspiration to people. I mean, getting on a TV show is one of the hardest things in the world. And then getting on one that lasts is a really hard one. And then getting on one that lasts and is good. And then one that lasts and is good and still has a cultural impact 10 years after it has ended is, I mean, talk about hitting the lottery. I mean, we had no idea. I knew we were on to something really special and funny and magical. And of course, Steve Corral is one of the great comedic actors that will ever live. But we had no idea I would have this kind of impact and we're so deeply grateful and gratified around that. And I'm going back to the English office. It's always like, it's so funny to me. And the bassoon King, the other book there I talk a little bit about that that competition is so absurd. Like the anger and vitriol that you Brits brought to the fact that the Americans were going to make remake the beloved office. It was so staggering. I mean, it was so enraged and vitriolic. And it was like, guys, guys, the English office isn't going anywhere. You can watch it over and over again. We're not going to take all the copies and burn them. You know what I mean? We're going to take a brilliant idea by, you know, by Ricky and Stephen and the BBC and God bless them. You know, it's astonishingly brilliant and we're going to kind of run with it instead of 12 episodes. We're going to make 200 episodes. How's that? If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it. But that was an interesting time frame. But yeah, so it's interesting that you bring this up because I was very frustrated because I was on Bill Mar and I was on one other podcast and I was talking about how there were times on the office that I really struggled because I really wasn't happy because it wasn't enough. Here I was on the greatest job that I could ever imagine beyond my wildest dreams of that geeky chess playing bassoon playing kid from suburban Seattle that, you know, walked around like a pimply serial killer that I would be part of one of the great TV shows of all time. I mean, give me a break. And here I was getting paid like millions of dollars and playing one of the most memorable characters in them getting nominated for awards and I'm working with the most beautiful family of actors and writers imaginable. And yet I was like, "Oh come on, I can't get more movies and why did my movie I did bomb and why won't they make a deal with me?" And I just want to have this and I want an office and Warner Brothers and why can't I get it?" And I spent a lot of time, unnecessary time and angst and anguish in that anxious discontent at a time when I should have just been like, this, it doesn't get better than this, just enjoy it, drink it in and be a part of this incredible artistic because it was artistic experience. So, but I think the reason I've been bringing that up and some interviews is I think it's important for people to understand that, you know, here's someone who, you know, 15 years into their acting career or 20 years into their acting career because I was, I started playing Dwight when I was 38 years old and I was like, "Oh, I'm not going to be happy." And I was like, "Oh, I'm going to be happy." And that's why I brought it back to that unhappiness that I experienced in my 20s. I was an actor, I was from suburban Seattle, here I was, I had an apartment in New York, I was doing acting and yet I was really unhappy and miserable and it didn't make any sense because society had always told me like, there's this if-then proposition, like if you achieve X Y and Z, if you make a certain amount of money, if you get a certain position, if you're in a certain kind of relationship, if you have a house at a certain level, if you're a member of a certain club or whatever, then you will be happy. So I achieved this, then I will be happy. That's bullshit. It's absolute and total crock of bullshit. Now, certainly, I'm not meaning to mean anyone that's struggling to pay bills and they're going like, you know, fuck you, Hollywood elitist, you got millions of dollars in the bank and you don't have to worry about, you know, paying the bills.
What would be the cure for chronic dissatisfaction? (54:45)
I was there, you know, I was having to worry about, you know, paying the bills and it was a struggle for the first 15 years of my career. So I've been there, I know what that's like and I honor that. So you certainly want to make enough money to, it does take an incredible pressure off your shoulders once you have achieved that. But to think that then you're going to be happy, I mean, you've interviewed a lot of millionaires and a lot of successful people, like how many of them are really fulfilled, deeply fulfilled and happy. What would I've had to have done to have gotten rain at the height and the peak of that success, even when it was going to be in the moment and to enjoy it for what it was, because it's not just you, it's all the people that are listening now that are in jobs. They've just got that promotion and now they're thinking about becoming a director or a CEO that they are deferring the happiness off to the future behind some goal. What can we do in the moment to just like, enjoy life today, bring our happiness into the now. If you always think your happiness is somewhere in the future, it always will be. What would I've had to have said to you to get you to snap out of that? That's a great question. I don't know that there's anything that you could have said to me in a couple of sentences or a couple of paragraphs, but I think if you could have encouraged me to go back onto my spiritual journey, back into my spiritual journey, because you're absolutely right, all we have is now. All we have is this next breath, this breath that we're currently experiencing. This is where the joy is, and if we're waiting for the joy to be 375 breaths from now or 3000 breaths from now or 300 breaths from now, we're missing out 100%. I think gratitude has a great deal because one of the cures for chronic dissatisfaction, the cure for Duka is gratitude, and I would have been to reign. One of the things that would have been really helpful is like, "Rain, you need to start every day with 10 things you're grateful for." I'm grateful for Jenna Fisher and John Kuzinski and Steve Carell, and I'm grateful for a nice paycheck and a healthy son and a beautiful wife, and I'm grateful for the fans of the office and the fact that I get to, you know, I've trained as an actor my whole life and I get to use those skills and tell wonderful stories and make people laugh, like, if I could have been stayed hooked into that, and I did get hooked back into that.
Struggles, Gratitude, And Personal Growth
Does being grateful stop you from having a drive? (57:00)
This was a, I'm describing a period of like three years, three to four years where I was really struggling with that, and then I came around. Does it rob you of your ambition though? This is a question I used to mow with myself because that that rain that wanted mower versus the rain, I guess I'm grateful for what I have. Is one more or less ambitious than the other? Yeah, that's a great question. And I don't know the answer to that because there is, did my chronic dissatisfaction fueled my spiritual drive and also fueled my career drive and my ambition? Because I was so chronically disenchanted and disaffected that I wanted more, I wanted more opportunities, I wanted more money, I wanted more knowledge, I wanted more wisdom. There is a drive there that can be healthy in a drive that there's an unhealthy aspect to it. So I don't really know the answer to that. I think for now when I look in my life, like I still have great ambition. Like I still want soul boom as a brand. I'm just kind of starting to think about like how to expand that as a brand. I still want to act in movies, you know, I want to direct, I want to maybe create companies. You know, I created SoulPancake, maybe create another company or something like that. And there's a lot I want to do. But I'm hoping to bring the best aspects of myself toward that ambition. And for me, that has to do with service and God and utilizing myself, my God given talents and faculties and maximizing. And maximizing those and living in God's will. I'm sorry to get all hippie dippy religious now. But to me, that's what's driving me now. But it's as long as we're in the battle of the ego. And that's the most ancient, right, human spiritual struggle is the battle of the ego. Psychologists talk about it and prophets talk about it and gurus talk about it. Right. So as long as we want to promote the self and the self will and ego satisfaction, we'll never be happy. Are you happy? I am. Yeah. Happy is the wrong word. But whatever it is you mean by happy, I have that thing. What is that thing?
I don't know what the word is. And I ponder this a lot. Like, what's the perfect word? You know, social scientists talk about well-being. So I like that one a lot. That works. It's partially contentment. But it's also partially meaning and purpose and vision. And when I'm in alignment with meaning and purpose and vision, then I feel like I'm vibrating on the right frequency. I discovered a product which has changed my life called "8 sleep". And I'm so proud to say today that I had a chat with the founder of the brand and they are now a podcast sponsor. And one of the things I've come to learn on this podcast from speaking with sleep experts like Matthew Walker is how important temperature is when it comes to sleep, the temperature of your room, the temperature of your bed. And also one of the big insights I had from speaking to some experts was that the temperature of the room should fluctuate throughout the night as you move through different stages of sleep. So when you first get into bed, it should be quite cool in bed. It should then get a little bit cooler and then the temperature should increase near the end. And that is a reflection of what would have happened in nature once upon a time. You've probably come to learn that I have sponsors on this podcast that I use and products that I love. My sponsors should be a reflection of the conversations I'm having, but also a reflection of what I'm using in my life. So to celebrate them being a new podcast sponsor, I always want to get a discount for you guys and I've got one. Go to 8sleep.com which is eightsleep.com/steven. And if you do that, you'll save $150 on the pod cover that I have on my bed, the one I'm talking about. Grab your pod cover, send me a DM and let me know how you get on. Quick one. You guys know that for years now, my office has quite literally been everywhere. I'm on a plane in the back of my car, in a terminal, in an airport or on a train. You name it, I've probably worked there. Ever since I started my first business at 19 years old, I've been working on the move. All I need is Wi-Fi, a desk and my headphones, and I'm set. And one of the places that has always had my back when I'm struggling to find an office is WeWork. I've been using WeWork for years now, whether it's in Manchester, London, Manhattan or LA, WeWork is easy. It literally requires no thinking.
What do you struggle with? (01:02:11)
There's no stress of finding the perfect work in location. WeWork does it all for you. Plenty of desk space, meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, drinks, snacks, it's all there. So for your next remote working trip away from the office, or if you want a new fresh space to work in, then don't just work anywhere. WeWork might just be your answer. You can get 25% off your first six months of WeWork all access by using code CEOWorks. That's one word, CEOWorks. And to redeem this offer, visit we.co/CEOWorks. What are the things that you still struggle with? Because sometimes when we read the books and stuff and I've written a book myself, it can sometimes exude the illusion of fixed or figured it all out. I'm done. So what do you still struggle with on an ongoing basis? Yeah. I think that I can be a better husband. And I think I can be a kinder father and a more compassionate friend. There's still some really basics of human interaction that I haven't quite gotten figured out. Well, because I wasn't really, I didn't learn these things from my parents. I didn't learn connection and compassion in the household that I grew up in. So I've had to parent my adult self in that direction. And, you know, to really, I struggle with making sure that I'm, again, using the tools that God has given me to try and make the world a better place. I think there's a lot more that I could be doing to try and make the world better and to help heal people that are disenfranchised and bring more joy to people's lives and try and bring spiritual tools to a young generation that I think will help. And I think that I think will make their lives better. There's more I could be doing to that end. And I still have a big ego. You know, I'm still narcissistic and I still, you know, want ego satisfaction and it's always there. You know, it's, it's, it's, you know, they always say an addiction that your addict is in the basement doing pushups, you know, even when, but I would say the same thing about the ego, you know, it's there in the basement doing pushups, just getting ready to come in and take the reins. Does it speaks you sometimes that the guy in the basement? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You know, Jung talks about the shadow side and it's so important and part of the therapeutic process is to get to know one's shadow because, and to know and embrace and accept and love one's shadow. And I have a, I have a dark shadow, you know, it's an addict shadow and it's a miserable shadow and it's self important and righteous and entitled and, you know, it's a miserable shadow and it's self important and righteous and entitled and this is, this is part of who Rainn Wilson is, you know, and I'm not going to get rid of those aspects of myself by keeping that shadow at, at arm's length or locked in a closet or something like that. I have to, you know, keep your enemies closer, you know, keep that, keep that shadow. There you are, buddy. There you are. Right on the belly. Go go go go go. Yeah, you little, you little mean little addict, you know, you little narcissistic entitled asshole. I love you. I love you. You're right here with me. You're part of me. Let's go on this. We're in this together. I got you right where I want you. Everyone's got a shadow. A lot of people are trying to fight their shadow. I mean, a lot of the prevailing narratives are that you can therapy your way out of the shadow. Yeah. No, it's, it's sitting there. You got to sit the shadow on the lap, almost like a ventriloquist dummy. You know, it's, that's why I love ventriloquist ventriloquist stories and horror films of like the dummies that come to life and attack, you know, because that's, that's your shadow is, is that.
The 12-step program that helped me & millions (01:05:59)
Hello. How are you? Fuck you, Steven. I'm a fucking CEO. Get a new t-shirt, idiot. That's going to be the trailer. Um, the 12 step program, you and Russell have both spoken to me about this, but Macklemore's talked to me about it as well. And what I've since the conversation with Russell, I've spent a lot of time talking to other people about. Um, really like what makes us change. So the 12 step program is has some principles, which I think are applicable for all of our lives about how to, how to create change. Um, if someone's going through something in their lives now and they're struggling to change it, how does that 12 step program help us to go to change? What, what, what is it about that program that causes that change in people? Do you know, I love the 12 step program. That's such a great question. There's going to be people that are way more, um, knowledgeable than I, but I will say there are some essential components of the 12 step program that you write are applicable to everyone and could make everyone's lives better. Uh, I think society as a whole could benefit from a lot of the way that the 12 steps work. Um, I think it's the most profound spiritual movement of the last several years. Uh, it has transformed millions of people's lives. First of all, there's the idea that there's this wonderful dichotomy at the center of the 12 steps, which is if I surrender, if I admit defeat, if I admit powerlessness, I find great strength. I want to go on at the center of that. I give up. I throw up the white flag. I can't do this on my own. I need the support of a community. I need to get vulnerable. I need the support of a higher power. And then I find great strength. There's something just so beautiful about that. And the community of the 12 steps is amazing too. Like sharing with like minded alcoholics. Um, and getting the support of that community. There's a lot of people who have been using the word "servent leaders" that there's elections that it's run. It's the inmates running the asylum. You know, there aren't these kind of leaders. In fact, if there's someone who kind of presents as like a leader in 12 steps, you should be immediately wary of them that they have any kind of answer at all. And that's the thing that's compelled me in fact. When Russell was talking about this idea of, I think the kind of what he said was like, he broke it down into three kind of processes, awareness of whatever it is, the belief that you can change the thing. And then this third step, this principle of kind of surrendering to it. And in an individualistic society, materialistic society, when we're becoming more and more isolated and individualistic in our approach to life, we are living in four white walls alone more than ever before. You know, we think we can do it ourselves, right? This idea of surrender and admitting that you need the collective and help with something and that you might not have the answers. I think it's so powerful. So, so important as well. I think we all need to surrender in many ways. I think I need to surrender. In terms of my ego, I think I need to surrender in terms of even spirituality. I told you a second ago about my partner, who is very, anyone might call spiritual and surrendering to her way of living has brought me so much value in my life. So this idea of surrender being the solution to the resistance we're encountering by the ways that we're living, I think is something that everyone can consider. Like if you're feeling a deep sense of dissatisfaction in your life, surrendering and saying, I need help, I don't know the answer. Can you help me? Yeah. It brings in everything. It's probably the medicine that you're seeking. But surrender feels like an interesting word. It feels like powerlessness. Right. But again, there's great power in that powerlessness. And what do you surrender to? And that's why there's a higher power as well. And boy, there's so many things I wanted to say there. But there's a humility in the process that is missing in contemporary society, right? Say we're the least humble that humans have been in our history, all 8 billion of us sharing this planet. So, and I think God or a higher power requires a certain humility. Like there's a power greater than myself. The ego is the opposite of surrender. The ego wants to control outcomes. The ego wants to control other people, right? As long as we're trying to control other people and control outcomes, we're going to be unhappy. So, there's something about surrendering. Like your partner's journey, you surrender to that. You don't know what she's going to go live on a commune or worship a mushroom or something like that. Okay, you're on your journey. Charity does, babe. So, it's again that central spiritual struggle is the ego, is the primacy, the primacy, the primacy of the self as being separate from everything else. And the essential spiritual teaching at the center of every faith tradition is that we're all connected. We're all united. We're all one. This is an illusion of self. So, surrender eliminates that illusion of self. But there's so many other nuggets in 12 steps. Like one of them, just in the middle of the steps is when we are wrong promptly admitted. Like, that's just a really good piece of advice. And you know what? We could all benefit. Politicians could benefit. CEOs could benefit.
What does your wife mean to you? (01:12:20)
People in relationships, parents with their children, people in partnership could benefit. Like when we're wrong, promptly admit it, promptly being the word, not eventually. You know, say you're sorry and do it faster, you know, and do it better. And the world would be a much better place. If everyone around said when I'm wrong, I'm in a promptly admit it. That's just one little gem. There's so many dozens more. Holiday. Yeah. She's been with you through a lot. Yeah. Yeah. When I was looking at the timeline of when you guys got together, I think you met an enacting class, right? Yeah. It's been a long time, almost four decades, right? Hell a long time. Yeah, we were an acting class together in 1985. We weren't together as a couple till 90, 91, really, when she moved to New York. But, yeah, I wasn't even born then. You've grown a whole Steven in that time. Asshole. I was born in '92. So what does she mean to you? You're gonna make me cry, aren't you? You're gonna try and make me cry? I don't know. I don't know. You might hate her. She's everything to me. I mean, I am so blessed to have her in my life. She's dealt with me when I've been a raging asshole. And she's dealt with me when I've been depressed, when I've let my anxiety get the best of me. We've had a lot of ups and downs in our marriage. And I think that's really important for people to hear. We're soulmates. And I really wouldn't have achieved anything that I've achieved without her help and guidance and love and support. And it all sounds like a cliche, but it's just the truth. And she's really the wisest person that I know. She has a deep, deep wisdom. And she knows me better than anyone. So I'm just grateful and I tell her every day. I tell her every day. What has she taught you about the nature of what love is? You know, it's interesting. She also had a very traumatic childhood and her parents had a very difficult situation. And she had a lot of issues in her own way and her own journey. I'll let her tell that story. But she loves very naturally in a way that it's a lot more work for me. So she just has a big heart and is just able to love our son and other people and animals. And you know, I always felt as an analogy I use in my books where because I had such a weirdly fractured childhood, I would observe how humans interacted and try and emulate that because I didn't understand it. So I would like observe people in the lunchroom at my school and they'd come in and someone would say like, "Hey buddy, how's it going? You have a good weekend? Good to see you." And I would watch it and I would, "Oh, that's how normal people interact." And so I would literally copy it and I would try it out and I'd go up to someone like, "Hey buddy, how you doing? Have a good weekend?" You know, so for me, I felt like I was an alien. Like I was literally a cosigns fiction film where I was like this alien, like learning about human behavior and interaction and like studying humans and seeking to fit in. And I bring this up because holidays does this stuff so naturally. You know, she just has a natural warmth and grace. So sometimes I emulate her about, "Oh, here's what it means to be loving and warm and live life with grace." You and me both. My partner sounds exactly the same and I feel like I've learned how to love someone by emulating the things she does so naturally. The things she says, the things she admits when she says sorry, how open she is. The ability to tell me her feelings. All of these things I've learned from just watching that she seems to have no issue or no resistance in doing it. That makes sense. I've learned how to parent from her so well and our son, bless em, Walter, he's 18 and a half about to go off to college.
The Last Question
The last guest's question (01:16:56)
But I always want to maybe lecture or react a little too much or say the thing I feel that needs saying and my wife is so good and like she'll see me starting to do it and she'll just be like, just this little thing and I'll be like, and I think Walter, well we'll talk about it later. I take my cues from her little, actually she's a conductor she's a conductor of my parenting too. Rain, thank you so much. We have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest leaves a question for the next guest not knowing who they're leaving the question for. They leave it in the diary of the seer. That's good. The question they have left for you. I don't get to read it until, so give me a second. The handwriting is not always great. Can you recall a time when you... Observe, he reads it. Observed someone being treated badly and could have intervened but didn't. Er, so what might you have done differently if you could go back to that moment? That's such an exceptional question. I was reading a... someone was writing about bullying and they were talking about how bullying is a three-step process like you stop the bully, you say, "Hey, that's not okay. Speak up to the bully. Maybe don't get in a fight, but speak up to the bully. Tend to the bullied and then report it to an authority." We often just view bullying as that first step process of trying to shut down the bully. Back in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up, there was a hell of a lot of bullying going on. I feel bad that I didn't bully myself because I was far too nerdy to partake in bullying. But that's any reason why. Part of it was because I wish that I could have been a part of that process, especially people that had been bullied. I guess I just didn't have the tools to give them empathy and compassion and support and then to take an active part in reporting this whole dynamic to the authorities. When I go back and replay my high school years and junior high and elementary school years, it was non-stop bullying. It was taunting and teasing and taking the piss out and demeaning and belittling and hierarchies. We may be going a little too far in contemporary society about what qualifies as bullying, because it's not criticism and it's not even necessarily like having some good-natured fun. I wish I had been more actively a participant in a part of the three-step process. Super interesting. I've never heard about that three-step process before. This particular individual, I don't usually give clues, but they were writing a book about adult bullying as well. Having been on the receiving end of that, and they think adult bullying is something we don't really talk about a lot, which is like the work, play stuff, and as we get older. Rain, thank you so much. Thank you for so many things. There's two really incredible things that changed my life in a really important way. The first was obviously The Office. You are by far my favorite character, and I think that I just can't understand how a human could have been so good at acting. I really mean that. I don't bullshit people, but you're so good at acting. Playing that role of Dwight. I think there was occasions where I tried to do it. It comes as a shock to many people that, you know this because you kind of allude to it in the first chapter of the book, that someone that could embody Dwight can also write such a great book like this about something that is so far from what I think Dwight might be interested in. It's actually all a testament to your ability to act really, really unbelievable. I think your role is Dwight is one of the all time great performances in any show like that. It's incredible, incredible. And you talk about, as I said in the 10th chapter of the book about spreading joy, you gave me so much joy. And then you came out with this app called SoulPancake back in the day, which caught me at the perfect moment, where I was a young man that was really obsessed with these big questions, still am, and it allowed me to find this community where I just peppered people with really profound questions about whether dogs have a soul in all these kind of things that I was struggling with at the time. So thank you for both of those things because you helped me in ways that you'll never know, and I live tens of thousands of miles that way. And it changed just nudged the direction of my life in so many important ways. And it's led me to this moment now, which you can understand for me is an incredible one, an absolutely incredible one. So thank you means a lot. And everyone should go check out this book. It's wonderful. It's super accessible. It kind of, I don't know how to describe this, but it, as it relates to books that are confronting this idea of the spiritual revolution, it takes it easy on you, and it holds your hand across the bridge, you know, and that I think is important because that person in the lorry, or the truck, that's exactly what they need if they are going to access the wisdom in this book. So thank you, Raine. Stephen, what a profound pleasure. Thank you for having me on the show. Congratulations on all the incredible work that you do. And thank you for acknowledging the fact that you owe everything to me. So, and that's a wrap. A quick word on Hule. As you know, they're a sponsor of this podcast, and I'm an investor in the company. One of the things I've never really explained is how I came to have a relationship with Hule. One day in the office, many years ago, a guy walked past, called Michael, and he was wearing a Hule t-shirt. And I was really compelled by the logo. I just thought for a minute, a design aesthetic point of view. It was really interesting. And I asked him what that word meant, and why he was wearing that t-shirt. And he said, "It's this brand called Hule, and they make food that is nutritionally complete, and very, very convenient, and has the planet in mind." And he, the next day, dropped off a little bottle of Hule on my desk. And from that day onwards, I completely got it because I'm someone that cares tremendously about having a nutritionally complete diet. But sometimes, because of the way my life is, that falls by the wayside. So if there was a really convenient, reliable, trustworthy way for me to be nutritionally complete, in an affordable way, I was all ears. Especially if it's a way that is conscious of the planet. Give it a chance. Give it a shot. Let me know what you think.